Surge in oil spills instills further doubt in dependence on fossil fuels

Intro

Canadians are increasingly dubious of their federal leader’s ability to protect them from catastrophic consequences of oil spills. A recent poll conducted by Natural Resources Canada discovered that most Canadians “lack confidence in the federal government to effectively deal with oil spills on land and at sea.” This poll was published just days after an oil leak was announced in the Saint Lawrence river, which has seen an astounding 334 oil-related spills over the past 10 years. Meanwhile in the United States, over 50,000 gallons of oil spilled into Montana’s Yellowstone river, leading the governor to declare a state of emergency. With news of poisoned land and waterways surfacing at a time when Keystone XL — the proposed pipeline that would transport Alberta tar sands oil through America’s heartland — is subject of ongoing debate, safety regulations are expected to be at the forefront of those conversations in the coming weeks.

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RT @350 That black streak is oil from a pipeline spilling into the Yellowstone River. Drinking water is shut off nearby.

Key Points

  • Oil spills are affecting communities far and wide. The more oil is extracted and transported, the more frequent spills are bound to occur and endanger communities. While certain infrastructures offer some degree of protection, when faulty, the consequences associated with oil spills are devastating.
  • Canadians have valid reason not to feel safe. Over the last few years, Canada’s federal government invested millions of dollars in an attempt to convince an American audience to buy into their expanding fossil fuel projects — even though most Canadians are unconvinced by their leadership’s ability to protect them from oil spills. With the recent pipeline failure in Montana and the diesel spill in Canada’s Saint Lawrence river, citizens have ample reason to have reservations the safety of fossil-fuel related projects — especially with a decision looming on the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • The transition towards 100% clean energy resources remains crucial to a sustainable future.  A recently published study shows that if the Canadian tar sands are developed, than the world’s warming cannot be contained to 2degC, which would result in massive heath, property and economic damage to billions around the world. The only way to move away from these risks is by accelerating the transition towards clean energy — a dependable, economically sound resource.

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Key Quotes

  • “Tens of thousands of litres that end up in the Saint Lawrence River and all of a sudden we’re wondering why beluga whales are doing so bad and the species is declining? We should know. We should have better information.” – Steven Guilbeault, Équiterre.
  • “While we fight to ensure TransCanada and the state of Nebraska do not run roughshod over farmers and ranchers, we also call upon President Obama to reject Keystone XL now.” – Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska.
  • “Preliminary tests have indicated that some traces of oil have entered Glendive’s water supply. There have been no reports yet of injuries, but the damage assessment is ongoing and everything is being hampered by the fact that parts of the Yellowstone River are frozen this time of the year.” – Kirk Siegler, NPR.

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